Google hit with cloud patent claim over Docs, Drive

Google hit with cloud patent claim over Docs, Drive

Summary: Cloud computing proliferates, drawing attention to old tech patents. Can caching methods be patented? We'll find out.

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TOPICS: Patents
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A hat tip to GigaOm's Jeff John Roberts this morning for pulling court documents related to a new lawsuit filed against Google for infringing patents with its Docs and Drive services.

A Massachusetts-based company called Superspeed LLC filed suit in the U.S. district court in Houston, Texas alleging that the Mountain View, Calif-based tech giant infringed on patents for technology related to the caching of data.

It argues:

SuperSpeed and its predecessor EEC have developed and marketed software for increasing performance of computers linked together in a network. The software is designed to work in a network environment known as a shared-disk cluster. [...]

For example, a bank might have hundreds of computers as part of its network, some for employees handling customer service calls, others for employees running credit checks for loan applications, and so forth. [...]

Accessing data on hard disks and other mechanical storage devices is a relatively slow process. [...]

SuperSpeeds software helps overcome this problem by permitting data "caching" in a shared-disk cluster network. "Caching" accelerates data processing operations by making a copy of frequently accessed data in the random access memory (or "RAM") of the individual computer that is using the data. A computer can access data in RAM approximately two-hundred-thousand times faster than data on a hard disk.

The company argues that Google's Docs and Drive products infringe on the patent (you can see it here), a tough pill to swallow as every enterprise player moves toward the cloud.

The company seeks an injunction and royalties; we'll see how Google responds soon enough.

Topic: Patents

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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24 comments
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  • Wow

    Data caching! What a novel idea! Was this patent granted in 1970? Because I suspect prior art goes at least that far back.

    LOL.
    dsf3g
  • Gawd....

    Old mainframe computers were using caching, but a quick look at Superspeed's site shows that they still somehow finagled a few patents and have one resolved suit against Oracle from 2005 (the details of which, of course, are "confidential".)
    JustCallMeBC
    • I'm sure

      ...that highlight will come up during the proceedings.
      andrew.nusca
    • Oracle Lawyers

      That suite may not count for much, if Oracle performance in the patent case against Google show anything is that Oracle lawyers are rubbish. Plus Google have become experts at getting patents invalidated.
      Knowles2
  • no surprise

    Its google, so no surprise if another patent is breached...
    owllnet
    • nope, no surprise

      Its owllnet, so no surprise he's bashing google... It is easy to disregard facts like data caching has been around for decades when you are a blind fanboi.
      NetAdmin1178
      • Sorry, NetAdmin, but you're the one

        who sounds like a fanboi. Owlnet repeated the common observation that Google appears to have low regard for other companies property. He did not leap to the blind defense of a company; that was you.
        cantbeme
      • Can't Be You?

        When in the world is this a "common observation"? What exactly have they stolen?
        30otnix
      • fanboi

        @cantbeme
        Sorry, but a quick glance at any blog owllnet has commented on will show his unending support of Apple, and his distaste for Google - typically without anything to back up his argument. I have to admit that owllnet is hardly the only one that does this on zdnet; I just decided to call him out on it.

        And in regards to "common observation" of Google's disregard for IP, perhaps you should look at Apple, Microsoft, IBM, etc on this one as well, because the entire computer industry uses data caching. No, he didn't leap to the "blind defense of a company"; he lept to the blind ATTACK of a company, just like you.
        NetAdmin1178
      • Based on past posts

        Are you any better than he? Just the flip side of the same coin is how I see it.
        non-biased
  • Events have overtaken this patent from 1999.

    I don't even know what platform Google uses for Drive but the patent claims are pure chutzpah. Take a look at 918244 claims. Any cache on an open VMS op system is theirs. Seems to me that Google's acquisition of 2webtech/upstartle/docverse should give then patent protection from this nonsense just like what happened with Oracle. I suspect the Courts will get tired of this crap. Waste of time.
    droidfromsd
    • Not quite

      Patent claim is not chutzpah, more like hor5eshit.

      The above diagram seems to have no relevance to anything in the blog subject.
      neil.postlethwaite
      • The diagram

        ...is from the original patent.
        andrew.nusca
  • Can math be patented? H3ll no!

    Yet another example of how Software Patent issuance has gone overboard.
    Time for a full review/overhaul of the US Patent law.
    DTS - Your Linux Advocate
    • RE: Can math be patented? H3ll no!

      [i]Time for a full review/overhaul of the US Patent law.[/i]

      2011 is calling and it wants you back. The America Invents Act was passed by U.S. Congress and signed into law by the President in September, 2011.

      P.S. I don't disagree with your sentiments on software patents.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Generally speaking, ideas can't be patented

      Because such patent are too broad and would result in killing innovation. Patents and copyrights can only be applied to specific intellectual property that forms a unique contribution. In this case data-caching is not patentable, and any patent will be thrown out. It is possible, however, that a specified algorithm for data caching may be patentable. In order for this lawsuit to prevail, it will not be enough to show that Google uses data-caching, (everyone uses data-caching) but that Google copied a specific algorithm for data-caching without securing the rights to use that algorithm.
      DCGideon
      • And thats why Apple cannot patent a rectangle...

        Whoops they did that though, didn't they,,, and called it an iPad. On that basis anything goes. Oh well... bang goes that theory.
        pjmckay
  • Wow...

    God... let's hope we don't have an idiot judge on this one.

    If you keep pushing enough stupid patents claims, a few of them are bound to slip through, and it makes me want to be sick.
    Naryan
  • Idiot judges

    I have seen previous reports of Texas judges and their inabilities. That is why a Massachusetts company goes to Texas to file suit against a Californian company.
    alfred@...
    • It's not just there

      I participated in a federal suit in NY, where a judge was buying that one software infringed on another's software trade secret because they both ran on computers. That was 20 years ago but I've learned that too many judges rely on ego over seeking expert advice.
      fldbryan@...